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What Is Non-Volatile Memory?

CDs are a type of non-volatile memory.
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  • Written By: S Garden
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 28 July 2014
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At the most basic level, non-volatile memory stores data without power. This type of memory is important for long term storage of essential system information and data; it would be impossible to work if computer users had to reenter everything contained on a hard drive every time they wanted to use a computer. Some of the different types of non-volatile memory include Read-Only Memory (ROM), flash memory, hard disks, and optical media, like CDs.

Read-Only Memory, also called mask ROM, is a type of non-volatile memory that stores information permanently; it cannot be erased from the chip. Several other types of non-volatile memory share the "ROM" acronym, but can actually be rewritten. These include Erasable Programmable ROM (EPROM), Electrically Erasable Programmable ROM (EEPROM), and flash memory, also sometimes called flash ROM. Most forms of EPROM are erased using UV light, which erases all data on the chip, while data on an EEPROM chip can be erased and rewritten selectively. Flash memory evolved from, and is similar to, EEPROM.

CDs and DVDs are also a form of non-volatile memory, storing their data in pits on the surface of the disks. They use optical technology as opposed to most other types of computer storage, which are typically magnetic based. This makes them exempt to certain problems faced by other forms of media, such as data loss caused by proximity to magnets. Optical disks, however, have their own set of problems, including scratching.

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There are advantages to products using non-volatile memory. They are typically less costly to produce than volatile memory, data can be stored up to ten years — and sometimes even longer — without a power source, and it allows hardware to become upgradeable. This allows developers to both adjust to new technologies, and helps to stave off complete hardware upgrades.

While non-volatile memory is very useful for long-term storage, it does not work well as short-term, immediate memory. Volatile memory, such as dynamic random access memory (DRAM) and static random access memory (SRAM), are better suited to memory that needs to be read and written over. This type of memory is generally more expensive than non-volatile memory, but is also much faster.

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Discuss this Article

anon235772
Post 5

CMOS does not hold the data without power.

anon107372
Post 4

can we use eprom in ENC28J60 ethmel controller? if yes, then which type of this EPROM we can use?

anon67301
Post 3

memory is the physical address where the data is stored, and memory address is the address that it directly detects where the data is? it's a logical address.

djfryoux
Post 1

what is the difference between memory and memory address?

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